TORONTO, Aug 08, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. (SunOpta or the Company) (Nasdaq:STKL)
(TSX:SOY) today announced that it has signed a 4.7 million Euros
($7.1M Cdn) contract to supply its patented steam explosion equipment
and process technology to Abener Energia S.A. of Seville, Spain, a
wholly-owned subsidiary of Abengoa S.A. (Abengoa) (Madrid Stock
Exchange - ABG), for the first commercial production facility in the
world to convert wheat straw into ethanol. This facility, which is
scheduled to be operational in the fall of 2006, will be built in
Babilafuente (Salamanca), Spain and is located adjacent to an existing
cereal grain to ethanol plant operated by Abengoa. Abengoa is the
largest ethanol producer in Europe and the second largest in the
SunOpta is recognized as the world leader in the preparation,
pretreatment, steam explosion and extraction of value added compounds
from plant biomass material.
The awarding of this contract follows extensive development work
completed at SunOpta's pilot plant and laboratory facilities located
in Norval, Ontario. The development was sponsored by Abengoa Bioenergy
R&D of St. Louis, Missouri, with a focus on the production of ethanol
The soaring price of oil and the concern over greenhouse gas
emissions has created a strong interest in the demand for ethanol,
with President Bush recently calling for a substantial commitment to
increase the production of ethanol in the U.S. Several States and
Provinces have legislated the inclusion of 10% ethanol in auto fuel
and others are considering similar legislation.
Ethanol is largely produced from cereal grain in Europe and corn
in North America and it is generally recognized that the cost
effective supply of grains and corn will be a limiting factor in
meeting the growing demand of ethanol for energy use. Experts agree
that it is critical to utilize technology that extracts fermentable
sugars from the whole plant, including wheat straw and corn stalks to
meet this growing demand.
SunOpta entered into a partnership in May 2004 with Abengoa of St.
Louis, Missouri, to develop technology for the integration of the
production of ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass and from starch to
improve the commercial viability and to provide an unlimited growth
opportunity in the ethanol industry. SunOpta was selected due to their
commitment to innovation and sustainable development.
Murray Burke, Vice President and General Manager of SunOpta's
StakeTech Steam Explosion Group, commented that "SunOpta is delighted
to partner with Abengoa and its affiliates to deliver our expertise
and proprietary technology to the formidable team that Abengoa has
assembled. This world class facility will be the benchmark for all
future biomass to ethanol plants."
SunOpta Inc. is an operator of high-growth ethical businesses,
focusing on integrated business models in the natural and organic food
markets. For the last seven consecutive years, SunOpta was included in
Profit magazine's 'Profit 100' list of the 100 fastest growing
companies in Canada. The Company has three business units: the SunOpta
Food Group, which specializes in sourcing, processing and distribution
of natural and organic food products integrated from seed through
packaged products; the Opta Minerals Group, a producer, distributor,
and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and the
StakeTech Steam Explosion Group which engineers and markets
proprietary steam explosion technology systems for the pulp, bio-fuel
and food processing industries. Each of these business units has
proprietary products and services that give it a solid competitive
advantage in its sector.
SOURCE: SunOpta Inc.
Jeremy N. Kendall, Steve Bromley, John Dietrich
Susan Wiekenkamp, 905-455-2528, ext 103